Revisiting On the Road is an item on a checklist of mine, an item I suspect will never be crossed off. I hated the book in high school, when it was assigned reading, but then found my way into it after dropping out of college and living a little. But now, with so many years behind me, the romantic elements of Jack Kerouac’s Beat classic look a little phony.
But maybe I’ll have to reread it for work. The movie version of the book – long threatened – is finally getting underway to the point that there’s casting. I don’t know how much of the casting has been previously announced, but the Hollywood Reporter has Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund in the leads.
Riley, who was great in Control, will be playing Sal Paradise, the book’s version of Kerouac. Hedlund, soon to be seen in Tron Legacy, will be playing Dean Moriarty, my favorite character in the book (and I’m kind of a bigger fan of Neal Cassady, the real Dean, than I am of Kerouac. I like that Dean drove the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test bus for the Merry Pranksters, connecting the Beats and the hippies in fun ways). And KStew will be playing Louann, a character I remember as being minor, who is based on Kerouac’s wife Mary Lou.
Walter Salles is directing, teaming up with his Motorcyle Diaries writer Jose Rivera; the work those two did on that Che Guevara movie makes me believe that On the Road could really work, even if the only casting that truly excites me is Riley.
Production begins this summer.